Ofsted has said it will not give a school an "inadequate" rating if it is only falling down on standards because of the impact of Covid-19.
The watchdog has updated its inspection handbook to take into account the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on schools.
Under normal circumstances, a school would receive an "inadequate" judgement if Ofsted found one or more of its criteria for this category had been met.
Exclusive: Ofsted may grade some schools next term
However, it has said it will not do this in inspections that result in graded judgements during this summer term.
In a blog explaining the changes, Sean Harford, the watchdog's director of education, said: "In cases when we do make graded judgements this summer, we will take into account the impact of the pandemic.
Ofsted 'will take Covid impact into account'
"Normally, a school would be rated 'inadequate' under a particular judgement if one or more of the 'inadequate' criteria applies.
"However, this will not be the case where 'inadequate' criteria apply solely because of the impact of Covid-19."
Ofsted has already announced that it will inspect schools and colleges on site next term “to provide reassurance about how well children and learners are catching up”.
But the inspections will be “lighter touch” with a full programme of graded inspections not beginning until September.
The exception, under a plan that Tes revealed last month, will be “where the evidence strongly suggests that a school’s current grade is no longer a fair reflection of its work”.